Career paths: the 6 benefits and how to set them up

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023

Career paths are structured pathways that guide employees in their professional growth within an organization. They include succeeding positions with increasing responsibilities and challenges and define the necessary steps, skills and experiences for advancement. Setting up career paths requires a deep understanding of the organization’s goals and employees’ individual aspirations

The benefits of career paths include increased employee satisfaction, talent retention, attractiveness to potential talent, personal and professional development, effective succession planning and increased productivity. HR plays a vital role in guiding employees through these pathways. Plus coordinating training, conducting performance reviews, and facilitating coaching and mentoring. Want to know more? Then read on! Prefer to get started right away? Try Learned free for 14 days now and start developing career paths right away in our career framework module.


What are career paths?

A career path is a structured, clearly defined path that employees can follow within their jobs. They do this to achieve professional growth and advancement. This usually includes successive positions, roles or tasks with increasing responsibilities and challenges. It defines the necessary steps, skills and experiences needed to move to another position. Effectively planned career paths help employees visualize and achieve their career goals. They do this while helping organizations retain and develop talent.

This helps organizations avoid high staff turnover. Curious about your organization’s employee turnover? Then download our employee turnover e-guide. This e-guide includes tips for preventing high employee turnover and a calculator for calculating your organization’s employee turnover.


What components does a career path consist of?

Setting up an effective career path can be complex because it requires a deep understanding of both the goals of the organization and the individual needs and aspirations of employees. Nevertheless, there are some crucial steps you can follow to shape an effective career path:

  1. Role definition: It all starts with a clear understanding of the different roles within your organization. Identify the skills, qualifications, and experiences needed for each of these roles.
  2. Growth and development opportunities: Determine which roles have the potential for upward mobility. This means identifying which positions can lead to higher positions based on the skills and experiences they offer.
  3. Training and education: Consider what types of training, education or certification may be needed to help employees achieve their career goals. Provide opportunities for ongoing training and professional development within your organization.
  4. Mentoring programs: Mentoring programs can help employees receive guidance and support as they acquire new skills and progress in their careers.
  5. Feedback and evaluation: Regular evaluations and performance reviews can help employees gauge their progress and identify any areas for improvement.
  6. Transparency: Make career paths visible and accessible to all employees. This allows them to plan their own career goals and understand the steps they need to take to achieve them.

Each of these components plays a crucial role in shaping an effective career path. But remember that success also depends on the ability to be flexible and responsive – to address changes in both organizational needs and employee aspirations.


What are the benefits of working with career paths?

Designing effective career paths offers numerous benefits, both for employees and the organization. Here are the main benefits:

  1. Employee satisfaction and engagement: Career paths provide employees with a clear picture of their future within the organization. This can contribute to higher satisfaction and engagement as employees see that the organization is investing in their growth and development.
  2. Talent retention: By providing clear career opportunities, your organization can retain valuable employees. People are less likely to look for other opportunities if they see a future for themselves within their current organization.
  3. Attracting talent: Potential employees often look for companies that offer growth opportunities. Showing career paths can make your organization more attractive to highly skilled talent.
  4. Personal and professional development: Career paths allow employees to develop themselves both professionally and personally. They can gain new skills, expand their capabilities and better understand their role within the organization.
  5. Succession planning: With clearly defined career paths, your organization can more effectively plan for future leadership roles and ensure a smooth transition when current leaders leave or retire.
  6. Increased productivity: If employees clearly understand what is expected of them and the potential for advancement, they are likely to be more motivated to perform, which can lead to increased productivity.

Thus, defining career paths is not only beneficial for employees, but also for the overall health and growth of the organization.


What is HR’s role in the employee’s career path?

Human Resources (HR) plays a vital role in guiding employees through their career paths. HR is responsible for establishing the possible career paths within the organization. In doing so, they identify specific skills, experiences and training needed for each career step. They also coordinate training and development programs, essential for expanding competencies and promoting growth. In addition, HR arranges performance reviews to measure employee progression and identify potential areas for improvement.

They initiate coaching and mentoring programs, such as providing employees with additional support on their professional journey. HR is also crucial in communicating these career paths so that each employee understands the necessary steps and opportunities. Finally, HR plays a key role in succession planning, the timely identification and preparation of potential leadership for future key positions within the organization.


Learned makes career paths transparent and accessible

As mentioned earlier in this blog, it all starts with role definition. With Learned’s career framework, you provide your employees with insight into the expectations for their current role, but also provide immediate, relevant recommendations for the most relevant future roles they can fill internally. Ook getting started with facilitating career paths for your employees?

Learned UI in which career paths are visible to an HR manager

With Learned’s career software, you easily generate a modern job board based on market data. This makes evaluations objective and career opportunities transparent. This will ensure motivated employees and low employee turnover.

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